OBJECTIVES: These studies were conducted to evaluate the feasibility of percutaneous left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion using the PLAATO system (ev3 Inc., Plymouth, Minnesota). BACKGROUND: Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) have a five-fold increased risk for stroke. Other studies have shown that more than 90% of atrial thrombi in patients with non-rheumatic AF originate in the LAA. Transvenous closure of the LAA is a new approach in preventing embolism in these patients. METHODS: Within two prospective, multi-center trials, LAA occlusion was attempted in 111 patients (age 71 ± 9 years). All patients had a contraindication for anticoagulation therapy and at least one additional risk factor for stroke. The primary end point was incidence of major adverse events (MAEs), a composite of stroke, cardiac or neurological death, myocardial infarction, and requirement for procedure-related cardiovascular surgery within the first month. RESULTS: Implantation was successful in 108 of 111 patients (97.3%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 92.3% to 99.4%) who underwent 113 procedures. One patient (0.9%, 95% CI 0.02% to 4.9%) experienced two MAEs within the first 30 days: need for cardiovascular surgery and in-hospital neurological death. Three other patients underwent in-hospital pericardiocentesis due to a hemopericardium. Average follow-up was 9.8 months. Two patients experienced stroke. No migration or mobile thrombus was noted on transesophageal echocardiogram at one and six months after device implantation. CONCLUSIONS: Closing the LAA using the PLAATO system is feasible and can be performed at acceptable risk. It may become an alternative in patients with AF and a contraindication for lifelong anticoagulation treatment.
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